November 20, 1945 |
|September 3, 1966, for the Kansas City Athletics|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 20, 1984, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Runs batted in||775|
|Career highlights and awards|
Robert James "Rick" Monday, Jr. (born November 20, 1945 in Batesville, Arkansas) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder and is currently a broadcast announcer. Monday is best remembered for saving the American flag from being burned in Dodger Stadium during the American Bicentennial.
Monday played 19-seasons for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics (1966–71), Chicago Cubs (1972–76) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1977–84). He compiled a lifetime .264 batting average, 1,619 hits, 241 home runs, and 775 RBI. He was selected an All-Star in 1968 and 1978. He batted and threw left-handed.
Tommy Lasorda, then a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers, offered Monday, and his mother Nelda, US$20,000 to sign with the Dodgers out of high school in 1963. But Arizona State University coach Bobby Winkles, who was also from Monday's native Arkansas, convinced them that he would look after Monday.
A star for head coach Winkles' Sun Devils team that included freshman and future baseball hall of fame member Reggie Jackson, Monday led the Sun Devils to the 1965 College World Series championship (over Ohio State) and earned All-America and College Player of the Year honors as a sophomore. For the 1965 season he hit .359 with 34 extra-base hits.
The top pick of the first MLB draft as a 19-year-old, Monday signed with the As for a $104,000 bonus on June 15. He began his professional career in the Single-A Northwest League with the Lewiston Broncs in Lewiston, Idaho. He singled in his professional debut on June 29 at Bethel Park in Eugene, Oregon, and played his first home game two nights later at Bengal Field in Lewiston. After the season, he and Bronc teammate Dave Duncan entered boot camp with the U.S. Marine Corps in San Diego in September.
Monday played the 1966 season with the Mobile As of the Double-A Southern League in Mobile, Alabama. Mobile won the league title and five of its players were called up to the major league club in early September, including Monday, Sal Bando, and Rene Lachemann.
Following his major league debut in September 1966, Monday began the next season in the majors, the A's last year in Kansas City. The team moved west to Oakland prior to the 1968 season, his first as an All-Star. Monday was with the A's through 1971, their first as American League West champions. He was traded for pitcher Ken Holtzman that November, and spent five productive seasons with the Chicago Cubs. In January 1977, Monday was traded in a five-player deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Bill Buckner and Iván DeJesús. The Dodgers won the National League pennant in 1977 and 1978.
Monday's best season in the major leagues came in 1976, his last with the Cubs. Batting in the leadoff position, he hit .272, establishing career highs in home runs (32), runs (107), RBI (77), total bases (271), slugging percentage (.507), and OPS (.853). He also finished 18th in the Most Valuable Player voting.
Perhaps the most outstanding accomplishment in his playing career was his domination over pitcher Tom Seaver, arguably the best of his generation. Monday hit 11 home runs against Seaver, more than any other player, and batted .349 (30 hits in 86 at bats).
American flag incident
At Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on April 25, 1976, two protesters ran into left-center field and tried to set fire to an American flag after the start of the bottom of the 4th inning. Monday, the Cubs center fielder, had been tossing a practice ball with left fielder José Cardenal before the incident happened. After Steve Stone of the Cubs threw a pitch that made Ted Sizemore pop out, Monday dashed over and grabbed the flag to thunderous cheers. Monday ran through the infield with the flag and while walking towards the Dodgers dugout met and handed the flag over to Dodgers pitcher Doug Rau. The ballpark police officers arrested and escorted the two intruders, William Thomas and his 11-year-old son, off the field and afterwards the father of the boy was fined, charged with trespassing, and put on probation. When Monday came to bat in the top half of the 5th inning, he got a standing ovation from the crowd and the big message board behind the left-field bleachers in the stadium flashed the message, "RICK MONDAY... YOU MADE A GREAT PLAY..." He later said, "If you're going to burn the flag, don't do it around me. I've been to too many veterans' hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it." Monday had served a commitment with the United States Marine Corps Reserve as part of his ROTC obligation after leaving Arizona State.
On August 25, 2008, Monday was presented with an American flag flown over Valley Forge National Historical Park in honor of his 1976 bicentennial flag rescue. Monday still has the flag he rescued from the protesters that was presented to him on "Rick Monday Day", May 4, 1976, during a pregame ceremony at Wrigley Field by an executive of the Dodgers organization; he has been offered up to $1 million to sell it, but has declined all offers.
During a Dodger Stadium game on September 2, 2008, Monday was presented with a Peace On Earth Medallion and a medallion lapel pin by Patricia Kennedy, founder of the non-profit organization Step Up 4 Vets, for his valor and patriotic actions on April 25, 1976 at Dodger Stadium.
When the second moment occurred in 1981, Monday was mostly a utility player. In the deciding Game 5 of the NLCS at Olympic Stadium in Montreal (played on a Monday afternoon due to an earlier rain-out), he smashed a two-out ninth-inning home run off the Expos' Steve Rogers that proved to be the difference in a 2–1 Dodgers victory. Monday's home run dashed what turned out to be the Expos' only chance at a pennant in their 36-year history in the National League representing Montreal. Even today, heartbroken Expos fans refer to the fifth game of the NLCS as "Blue Monday." Los Angeles went on to win the 1981 World Series, defeating the New York Yankees 4 games to 2.
Soon after his retirement as a player, Monday became a broadcaster for the Dodgers. He began in 1985 by hosting the pregame show and calling play-by-play on cable TV. From 1989-92, Monday moved farther south to call San Diego Padres games alongside Jerry Coleman, replacing outgoing announcer Dave Campbell. He was also a sports anchor at KTTV for a time in the 1980s. In addition, he served as a color commentator for CBS-TV at the College World Series championship game in 1988. Monday rejoined the Dodgers in 1993, replacing Don Drysdale who died suddenly from a heart attack in his hotel room on a Dodger road trip in Montreal. From 2005 to 2008, Monday mostly handled the analyst role, with Charley Steiner handling most of the play-by-play, except during road trips outside of the National League West division, during which Steiner broadcast the games on television (because until Vin Scully's retirement at the end of the 2016 season Vin Scully limited his broadcasting to all home games and road games involving either the NL West or AL West,) and Monday handled the radio play-by-play, usually with Jerry Reuss as his analyst. In 2009 Steiner (play-by-play) and Monday (analysis) began covering all games on radio, with Eric Collins doing TV play-by-play for games not covered by Scully. When Steiner replaced Collins on the road TV broadcasts in 2014, Monday switched over to the play-by-play duties alongside Nomar Garciaparra.
Although Monday is not known for signature home run calls or pet phrases, he does use Rocket's Red Glare on occasion after a player hits a home run, and when a ball goes over the head of an outfielder and head towards the wall, he uses the term no man's land.
Monday's "Blue Monday" home run (which crushed the Montreal Expos' championship dream) was not forgotten in Montreal. He reported, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in a documentary feature about the Montreal Expos, that when he was a broadcaster years after the homer, he was unexpectedly held up at Dorval Airport by a Canadian immigration officer and missed his connecting flight. When he inquired about the reason, the officer asked if he was the former Dodger player, and smiled.
- Washington Post, 4/22/2006, "Rick Monday Saved the Flag 30 years Ago"  Retrieved May 9, 2015
- Metcalfe, Jeff (June 16, 2005). – "Winkles' Devils Reflect on Title Run". – The Arizona Republic.
- "Rick Monday signs $104,000 Bronc pact". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. June 16, 1965. p. 10.
- "A's sing Monday: $104,000". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. June 16, 1965. p. 15.
- "Gems blank Broncs again as Pollard hurls 4-hitter". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Oregon. June 30, 1965. p. 14.
- "Broncs batter Wenatchee 15-1 as second half opens". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. July 2, 1965. p. 12.
- "Rick Monday, bonus baby, joins Marines". Spartanburg. South Carolina. Associated Press. September 24, 1965. p. 22.
- "Rick Monday in Marines". Prescott Evening Courier. Arizona. Associated Press. September 14, 1965. p. 9.
- "Athletics call up five players from Mobile". Florence Times. Alabama. Associated Press. September 3, 1966. p. 3.
- Rappoport, Ken (November 30, 1971). "Cubs trade Holtzman for A's Rick Monday". The Day. New London, Connecticut. Associated Press. p. 18.
- "Rick Monday traded to Dodgers". Times-News. Hendersonville, North Carolina. Associated Press. January 12, 1977. p. 8.
- "Dodgers ship Buckner, get Cubs' Monday". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. UPI. January 12, 1977. p. 1C.
- You Tube video, "Best Baseball Play Ever – Rick Monday Saves the US Flag"  Retrieved May 9, 2015
- Platt, Ben (April 25, 2006). "Monday's act heroic after 30 years". Cubs at MLB.com.
- Boccella, Kathy (2008-08-26). "Player who saved flag from desecration honored". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
- Bernstein, Daniel (2008-09-05). "Peace One Earth Founder Patricia Kennedy Throws Out First Pitch at Dodgers' Game". PR.com. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
- You Tube video, Patricia Kennedy honors Rick Monday at DoDgers Game  Retrieved May 9, 2015
- Dion, Jean (2014-06-04). «L'élément fatigue». Le Devoir (Montréal, Canada).
- Au revoir, Expos: Top 10 Moments. – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / CBC.ca.
- Gernick, Ken (September 6, 2008). – "Scully will return for 60th season". – Dodgers at MLB.com. – Retrieved: 2008-10-12.
- Hoffarth, Tom (March 21, 2009). – "Dodgers decide on Eric Collins as its new play-by-play fill-in". – InsideSoCal.com.
- 1971 Baseball Register published by The Sporting News
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- profile and chronology Baseball Library
- Vice Sports article on flag burning event
|First overall pick in the MLB Entry Draft
|National League Player of the Month